Sankofa for the Earth

Lakefront Gathering Spaces/Sankofa for the Earth
Chicago Park District
Written By Chicago Park District

The Chicago Park District owns more than 8,800 acres of parkland, making it the largest municipal park manager in the nation. Visit the Chicago Park District's 597 parks, 26 miles of lakefront, 70 nature areas, & hundreds of programs.

The Sankofa

In Africa, a bird looking backwards over its tail represents the Sankofa symbol, which means “go back and fetch it.” It is an understanding that our past(s) holds important information to move us forward in life.

The "Sankofa for the Earth" artist team and a group of volunteers spent months creating the wood base for the sculpture, designing mosaics and paintings, and finally installing the bird on site. The final product is a vibrant and poignant sculpture that nests in a fallen tree along the Corridor. 

Depictions of important African American historical and cultural figures are painted on the bird's wings. Can you find Dr. Margaret Burroughs? Louis Armstrong? Nat King Cole? Bessie Coleman? Who else? 

Scan the QR codes on the Sankofa for information about the images included in the mural, Bronzeville, the Chicago Park District, and the Field Museum

Meet the team 

"Sankofa for the Earth" was created by lead artists Arlene Turner Crawford, Dorian Sylvain, and Raymond A. Thomas in partnership with the South Side Community Art Center in Bronzeville. 

The South Side Community Art Center preserves, conserves, and promotes the legacy and future of African American art and artists, which educating the community on the value of art and culture. Located in Bronzeville, the SSCAC is the oldest African American art center in the country.

All photos ©Sandra Steinbrecher 2016  //  Video by Amber Mohammad Castañeda

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